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A Quarterly Journal
Jeffrey Woodward, Founder & General Editor
Volume 10, Number 4, December 2016

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Ray Rasmussen
Edmonton, Alberta, Canada


Cinnamon Bark

. . . the trinket aunts always had a little something in their pocketbooks, cinnamon bark or a penny or nickel . . .
                                                   ~ A. R. Ammons, Excerpt from "Easter Morning"

When my mother’s immigrant parents and siblings died of the Spanish flu, her uncles and aunts didn’t take her in. She became an orphanage girl who scrambled with the other children for the pennies and nickels thrown on the ground by well-meaning visitors on holidays.

I remember when she sang and made us treats. “You look hungry,” she'd say at dinnertime while heaping more pasta on my plate. Cinnamon bark pasta, I'd call it now.

We visit mom for Easter dinner in her retirement residence home. "Mom," my sister says in a loud voice, "your hair looks so lovely." My mother doesn’t say anything – just blinks and nods. She’s learned to pretend that she recognizes us, that she understands what we're talking about.

And now she’s trying to shuffle something off her plate and onto mine. I sense her wanting to pass over some bits of cinnamon bark.

walker shuffle –
her hair
a gray halo


Author's Note: A revision of a piece entitled "Easter Morning" that appeared in Simply Haiku 7:4, Winter 2009.

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